Wagner Speaks At The Pennsylvania American Legion’s 100th Anniversary Conference; Wolf Skips Event For Speech To Donors

Wagner-Bartos Announce Veterans Coalition

2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner today addressed members of the Pennsylvania American Legion at their 1ooth Anniversary Convention. Governor Wolf declined to attend the event, instead sending a video, so he could speak to  the American Federation For Teachers in Pittsburgh.

Following his remarks, Wagner and his running mate Jeff Bartos announced their Veteran’s Leadership Committee. The coalition is comprised of men and women from across the Commonwealth who served our country in various branches of the military. The Veteran’s Leadership Committee had endorsed the candidacies of Scott Wagner and Jeff Bartos and will work with the campaign’s Veterans Coalition to ensure they are elected in November.

“Our Veterans deserve a governor who’s door is always open and who will fight for them, and that’s exactly what my administration will do,” said Scott Wagner. “I am honored to receive the endorsement of veterans from across the Commonwealth. We have assembled an experienced Leadership Committee that is ready to help me tackle important issues related specifically to veterans such as employment and training, healthcare and mental health.”

“With real leadership from the Governor’s office, Pennsylvania could realize its untapped potential and improve the lives of our citizens. Scott Wagner has the vision and determination to lead our Commonwealth towards the future. He has my full support,”said Co-Chair Congressman Scott Perry. 

“Scott Wagner’s work ethic is unmatched, he is exactly who veterans want in their corner fighting for them,” added Co-Chair Guy Reschenthaler. “I’m proud to stand with my friend and our next governor, Scott Wagner, and I encourage veterans across our state to join me in supporting Scott.”

Co-Chairs
Congressman Scott Perry
Senator Guy Reschenthaler

Joseph Albert
United States Army
Lackawanna County
Lt. Col. Albert was a member of the Joint Staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, assigned to the strategy and policy branch, Middle East, Africa, Persian Gulf and United Nations division supporting the first Gulf War, the United States Intervention in the Rwandan Civil War and Somalia. Lt. Col. Albert’s decorations and awards include the Joint Staff Badge, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

Senator Ryan Aument
United States Army
Lancaster County
Senator Aument served as a captain in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom, briefly commanding an infantry company of 150 soldiers after his company commander was wounded in action. He has received many awards including the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Army Parachutist Badge. Aument was elected to the State Senate in 2014.

Ellen Cox
United States Navy
Bucks County
Cox served for 25 years in the United States Navy and as a LCDR in the US Navy Supply Corps Reserve. A Seagoing Navy Supply Officer, having been deployed twice to the Middle East on USS Supply (AOE6) as the Stock Control Officer (S1) and Assistant Base Supply Officer at NASJRB Willow Grove, PA. Cox is surface warfare and air warfare qualified. She is a member of the American Legion in Doylestown.

Dominic DiFrancesco
United States Navy
Dauphin County
DiFrancesco served as a Communications Technician 3rd Class in the United States Navy. A past National Commander of the American Legion, DiFrancesco has earned many citations and awards, including the City of Harrisburg’s Distinguished Public Service Award; the National Guard Guardsman Award in recognition of patriotic service; the Catholic War Veterans special citation for outstanding service to veterans; the 19th District citation for outstanding service to the programs of the American Legion and the Tri-County Community; membership in the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor, and the American Legion Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service and assistance to fellow veterans.

Samuel DeMarco III
United States Marine Corps
Allegheny County
DeMarco is a United States Marine Corps veteran having served as an avionics technician in support of VMFP-3, a Marine Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and VMFA-142, a Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron. DeMarco currently serves as an At-Large Councilman in Allegheny County.

Jeffrey Kissling
United States Navy
York County
Kissling served in the United States Navy as an EM1/E6, Certified Nuclear Operations. He served on the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) from 1975-1979. Throughout his military career he was deployed to the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean and Adriatic seas.

Craig Minnick
United States Army
Cambria County
Minnick served as a Lt. Colonel in the United States Army for 26 years, retiring this year. He served as a judge advocate officer and military prosecutor, including service in a Geneva Convention Article 3 tribunal hearings with Iraqi detainees. He also served as liaison for the 220th police brigade in Iraq and the legal liaison to the British Military Police. Minnick founded the Sergeant 1st Class Raymond Richard Buchan Memorial Scholarship fund in 2009, awarding deserving youth in the Johnstown area.

Commissioner Josh Parsons
United States Army
Lancaster County
Commissioner Parsons served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. He was commissioned in 1998 as a distinguished military graduate of University of Delaware’s Army ROTC program. Parsons served as an Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Battalion Staff Officer. He is in his first term as county commissioner in Lancaster County.

Andrew Raymond
United States Navy
Adams County
Raymond served in Operation Desert Storm during his military career. He served on three aircraft carriers: USS Theodore Roosevelt Cvn71, USS Saratoga CV 60 and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower CVN69. He served at the bureau of naval personnel in Washington D.C. before retiring from the Navy. Raymond is a member of multiple non profit organizations raising funds for veterans in York County.

State Representative Frank Ryan
United States Marine Corps
Lebanon County
Colonel Ryan served as the Central Command Special Operations Officer during Operation Enduring Freedom and retired in 2002. He returned to active duty in 2004 and served with the Multi-National Force-Iraq until 2005. Throughout his career he received three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the U.S. Army Commendation Medal. Ryan is a representative in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly.

Roy E Schrimp
United States Marine Corps
Bradford County 
Schrimp served as a Lance Corporal in the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Recon Battalion during Vietnam. He retired in 2007 after 40 years of service. He is the Operations Manager of the Bradford County Veterans Memorial Park Association and a lifetime member of the VFW and American Legion.

William ‘Bill’ Strish
United States Navy
Luzerne County 
Strish served as a petty officer, 3rd class in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, activated in 1966. He served on a Navy Aircraft Carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin. He also served in the National Guard. Strish is a former post commander at VFW Post #283 in Kingston.

David Sunday
United States Navy
York County
Sunday served in the United States Navy as a Petty Officer Second Class on board the Guided Missile Frigate USS Doyle FFG-39. His served included a tour in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Strike, numerous counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean and a deployment to South America. Sunday is serving in his first term as District Attorney of York County.

Honorable Jessica Garfola Wright
United States Army
Perry County
Wright retired as a Major General after a 35 year career of military service culminated with her final assignment as the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania and Commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard. General Wright commanded the 28th Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division from June 1997 to November 1998. She was the first female maneuver brigade commander in the entire United States Army. She is also the Vice Chairwoman Board of Trustees for Valley Forge Military Academy and College and on the Executive Board of the Army Aviation Association of America. General Wright is married to retired Lieutenant Colonel Charles Wright, they have one son who is a CPT in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

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Wagner’s remarks to the Pennsylvania American Legion as delivered can be found below. 

It’s great to be here with you to celebrate what is a remarkable anniversary.

For 100 years the Pennsylvania American Legion has been a beacon of support for those who have sacrificed so much to keep our country free and a land of opportunity.

The work this organization has done is so critical, and it deserves the ultimate respect.

That’s why it was important for me to be here today, and not just send a video.

I never served in the military.

I grew up on a farm, I graduated from high school in 1973 and I’ve spent the last forty years starting businesses from scratch here in Pennsylvania.

I understand, and I truly understand and I mean this sincerely, that I would have never had the opportunities I’ve had in my life if it wasn’t for those who have served in our military and protected our great country.

So today I just want to extend my gratitude to all of courageous veterans in attendance, and I would ask you to stand so we can give you all a round of applause.

Please stand.

And one of the reasons I’m running for governor is to do right by all of you.

Because right now you are not getting all that you deserve from the current administration and Governor Wolf.

When I’m governor, things are going to change for veterans and we are going to tackle your issues head on.

There is no reason that someone who served our country should go without housing and healthcare.

That’s why as governor I will Establish a long term strategic plan to address the issue including veteran homes.

I will fully fund Act 66 so that organizations like the American Legion can continue to service our veterans.

We also need to ensure that veterans returning home have the opportunity to succeed.

As governor, I will expand the educational opportunities available for veterans re-entering the workforce through career and technology education.

And finally, Veterans have made so many sacrifices for our country, we can’t allow them to be alone in their struggles.
Over 3,000 veterans are incarcerated in the Department of Corrections.

We need to allow them post-conviction reviews if PTSD or a traumatic brain injury occurred during their services.

We need to expand the Veterans treatment courts.

The heroin/opioid is affecting everyone, including veterans, and we need to invest the resources to combat this crisis.

We need to invest in mental health so that veterans don’t think the only way out is taking their own life.

So it’s real simple, folks.

I want everyone here to know that if I am elected, then you will have an ally in the Governor’s Office and I will have an open door.

And I can assure you that you will have someone you can rely on and someone who cares about you.

As I travel across this state, and I announced my candidacy last January, I’m touched by all the veterans that I meet all across Pennsylvania.

And I am so truly honored to be here today.

And as I go around the state I tell people I’m so very honored to meet veterans every single day.

So it’s been an honor for me to be here today.

And when I tell you, and I mean this sincerely, that you will have someone in the Governor’s Office that you can rely on, I don’t want this getting out in a major way, but I’m not changing my cell number.

So there are members of your organization that have my cell number that I have become friends with, so they are going to be able to reach me if there is an issue.

So with that I would like to wrap up, and enjoy your conference and thank you for having me here today.